Three months ago I wrote about Dr. Bruce Lan’s research into brain genes and evolution. Based upon my reading of the NY Times article, which apparently put a PC spin on things, I concluded that Dr. Lahn’s research indicated that there are genetic differences between the races which affect brain function.
On the front page of yesterday’s Wall Street Journal is an article which talks about the issue directly. Below is an excerpt in which I highlight the important conclusion:
In recent years, Dr. Lahn has become interested in why the human brain is so large and complex. Although humans and chimpanzees share about 96% of their DNA, human brains are about four times larger. Even today, researchers can find a correlation, on average, between people's brain size and their IQ.
Dr. Lahn's group zeroed in on the role of two genes, called ASPM and microcephalin, that are known to have a role in brain size. Humans with defective copies of either gene are born with brains only about one-third the normal size.
Studying DNA from several species, the Chicago team found that, over millions of years, the genes had undergone more rapid change in monkeys, apes and humans than in other animals. Their next step was to determine if evolution had continued in modern humans. Dr. Lahn's graduate students began decoding DNA from 1,184 people belonging to 59 groups from around the world, including Bedouins, Pima Indians and French-speaking Basques.
The data showed that evolution had continued in recent millennia. A statistical analysis of DNA patterns suggested that new mutations in each of the two brain-related genes had spread quickly through some human populations. Evidently, these mutations were advantageous among those populations -- just as the genetic variant promoting milk digestion was advantageous to early Europeans. Dr. Lahn and his team further observed that the new mutations are found most frequently outside of Africa. What the data didn't say was how the mutations were advantageous. Perhaps the genes play a role outside of the brain or affect a brain function that has nothing to do with intelligence.
While acknowledging that the evidence doesn't permit a firm conclusion, Dr. Lahn favors the idea that the advantage conferred by the mutations was a bigger and smarter brain. He found ways to suggest that in his papers. One mutation, which according to his estimates arose some 40,000 years ago, coincided with the first art found in caves, the paper observed. The other mutation, present mostly in people from the Middle East and Europe, and estimated to be 5,800 years old, coincided with the "development of cities and written language."
That suggested brain evolution might have occurred in tandem with important cultural changes. Yet because neither variant is common in sub-Saharan Africa, there was another potential implication: Some groups had been left out.
Unfortunately, because of political correctness, it seems that Dr. Lahn has to stop doing his brain research. “Dr. Lahn stands by his work but says that because of the controversy he is moving into other projects.”
This is further evidence that the research does indeed show that blacks are less intelligent than whites. If the research confirmed the politically correct but apparently scientifically incorrect notion that there is no genetic difference in intelligence between the races, then there would be no need for him to stop doing his brain research.